My grandmother, a fan of the cozy mystery who had occasion to read Nancy Drew books in her lifetime, once said of the teen sleuth’s loyal sidekick Georgia “George” Fayne, “Just once I want George to be the villain.” While the cozy (and surely the Nancy Drew books qualify) generally affords the reader anxiety-quelling payoffs like a sense of small-town communion, a loose-ends-free resolution and a reprieve from the lurid content semi-guaranteed by traditional detective fiction, my grandmother was pointing out that the subgenre isn’t known for the never-saw-it-coming ending. “Death and a Pot of Chowder,” the first in the projected Maine Murder Mystery series by Cornelia Kidd, a pseudonym for the Pine Tree State mystery writer Lea Wait, could be the poster child for the cozy. As the book opens, unemployed wife and mother Anna Winslow, a resident of the quaint (and fictional) Quarry Island, receives a letter in the mail from an Izzie Jordan. Anna always knew that the man who raised her wasn’t her biological father – that was Peter Jordan, who, as she learns in the letter, had another child after he abandoned Anna’s then-pregnant mother. Izzie, who lives in Connecticut, has contacted Anna to report… Read full this story
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